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Employment law

separation notices

In some states (such as Georgia and Tennessee) an employer is required to provide an employee with a written separation notice when the employee’s employment ends—whether the employee is fired, laid off, or quits. In states in which a separation notice is required, it is often a one-page form document that is available on the state’s department of labor website.

A separation notice may be relevant when a former employee is applying for unemployment benefits or when a former employer is defending against a wrongful termination or discrimination claim. Although the employment of most employees in most states is at-will, an employer cannot fire or terminate an employee for an illegal or discriminatory reason (age, sex, race, religion, etc.).

For these reasons an employer should be familiar with the applicable law and may want to consult a lawyer when completing a separation notice or responding to a request for a separation notice.

In Texas, there is no state statute that requires employers to provide a written separation notice to employees when their employment ends, regardless of whether the termination is due to firing, layoffs, or resignation. Texas follows the at-will employment doctrine, meaning that either the employer or the employee can end the employment relationship at any time for any legal reason, barring any illegal or discriminatory reasons such as age, sex, race, religion, etc. While a separation notice is not mandated by Texas law, it can still be a good practice for employers to provide one, as it can be useful for the employee when applying for unemployment benefits and can serve as documentation for the employer in the event of a wrongful termination or discrimination claim. Employers in Texas who have questions about best practices or legal implications of termination procedures may want to consult with an attorney for guidance.

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